Varnish over polycrylic


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I may have missed it.. But can I put varnish over a polycrylic finish? For some reason the polycrylic surface gets scratched very easily. And want to put a more durable finish over the poly instead of starting from scratch. Thanks in advance for the help.

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Probably.  Lightly sand the polycrylic w 320 grit.  Make a sample board first.  Finish with polycrylic, let cure for a couple days, scuff sand and top coat with the oil based varnish and see how it works.  

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Providing the polycrylic is fully cured there should be no issues going over top with an oil based finish.  The other way around *could* create issues with bonding, but even then it's possible after a long cure time.  One thing to take note of is that the bond of the oil based finish is only as good as what it's bonding onto.  If the surface was properly prepped prior to applying the polycrylic you should be fine.  Just prep as Mike (above) mentioned and I think you're good to go. 

One last note, when you're sanding the poly, be careful not to sand through exposing bare wood.  This will create blotches in the appearance as oil based finishes will give a different look than water finishes.

Hope this helps!

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  • 5 years later...

So the answer is “ it’s not known how it will work until a test sample has been created and evaluated” . . . Correct ??

Well , I’ll be applying the spar varnish today or tomorrow ( 6/4 or 6/5/21 ) . I’ll report back next week. 
 I too am having difficulties achieving a thick looking , glossy coat with just my poly acrylic.  Therefore instead of assuming it will work , we’ll know for sure next week. Of course even then , long term results won’t be known until long term time has passed. 
Sean . . . from NJ . 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Agreed.  If its going to be a show piece rather than a touch piece I've had good success with polyacrylic.  Did my first coffee table with the stuff and within 1.5 years the finish was shot.  Refinished it with oil based, been 4 years now, no issues. 

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